Washington, DC - US Rep. Fred Keller participated in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ Member Day hearing about frustrations he has heard from constituents related to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and its growing backlog of unprocessed requests for documentation from veterans and military families.
“The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, which oversees the NPRC, estimates that there is currently a backlog of half a million unprocessed requests, including several requests from my constituents dating back as far as February of last year,” Keller said during his testimony.
“That means Veterans have been waiting as long as 15 months for copies of service records in order to take advantage of VA benefits, information needed to adjudicate disability claims, or other documentation needed to request a commendation, award or regalia such as a Purple Heart or campaign service medal. Delays of this magnitude to any of these requests are simply unacceptable. Our veterans earned these benefits, and it is unconscionable that the federal government would needlessly make them wait to receive them," Keller continued.
Over a year ago, the NPRC was forced to scale down its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently staffed at 25 percent capacity. This is well below the amount needed to process an estimated 5,000 record requests it receives on an average day.
Since November of last year, Keller and several bipartisan colleagues have repeatedly called for the NPRC to work with congress towards a solution that will address the current 500,000 request backlog at the NPRC.
Recently, Keller sent a letter to David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States National Archives and Records Administration, on April 5, 2021, requesting immediate action to eliminate the backlog and demanding information about the administration’s plans to expedite records requests.